Game: Flying Hero
Publisher: Epic/Sony Records
Release date: 1989
Before you ask: No, this isn't an 8-bit predecessor of the Super Famicom shoot 'em up (made by Sofel and released in 1992) with the same name. Instead, it's more akin to Arkanoid--although even that isn't the most apt or accurate of comparisons. Hopefully this brief description will help clarify things: You control a trio of firefighters who have been tasked with saving the inhabitants of several burning buildings. Two of said firemen hold a trampoline and, with your help, race back and forth along the base of each domicile while the third ricochets between the trampoline and that particular building's windows (some ablaze, some not), Breakout-style, in an attempt to rescue all remaining dwellers. Still confused? Check out this video. Anyway, it's all pretty fun--in a play-it-for-a-few-minutes-and-then-play-something-else-instead kind of way. It's also, well, pretty, if a bit archaic and simple. Each structure (a castle, a cemetery and, er, a space ship among them) is unique and well realized, for example, and each structure's inhabitants are rather charmingly crafted and animated. Speaking of the game's structures: Most of them are single-screen affairs, but a select few take up two screens. That's worth noting mainly because these "tall" stages kind of suck--especially when compared to their more traditionally sized counterparts--due to the fact that the transition between the screens is both janky and jarring. Even then, though, Flying Hero is an enjoyably eccentric addition to the Famicom catalog and is well worth picking up (or playing via emulation) if you're into old-school oddities.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts